0098_Miller

Greetings from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs.

Many years ago as the mother of a strong-willed toddler and a newborn, I didn’t want to be “just” a mother. I wanted to be out ministering to the world. I hated my husband, Larry, who seemed oblivious to my needs. I continually complained about his neglect and the thankless job of raising children. In time, I learned to choose contentment in three primary areas: problems, possessions, and people.

Problems
Complaining about our circumstances stems from a discontented heart. This isn’t a new attitude. In Exodus 15 through 17, the Israelites complained about the lack of water and food. Then when God provided both, they complained abut the type of food they received.

On the other hand, Joseph is an example of a contented person. He trusted God even though he was sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape, forgotten by those he’d helped, and seemingly ignored by God (Gen. 39).

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Kathy Collard Miller

Greetings from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs.

When Larry and I had been married for seven years, we were completely disillusioned with each other. I couldn’t understand why Larry didn’t love me anymore. He certainly was far from being the Prince Charming I’d married. Oh Lord, what’s wrong with him? I moaned. I thought we were going to have a perfect marriage because You brought us together. But now we’re such strangers, we might as well be divorced. If only he wouldn’t work two jobs and fly planes as a hobby, we could be happy.

One morning Larry announced he was flying to San Jose for the day. I quickly suggested, “I’ll get the kids ready and we’ll go with you…”

Larry interrupted me. “Kathy, you can’t go. I rented a two-seater plane and I’ve already asked Joe to go with me.”

“But Larry, we never see you. Can’t you stay home just this once?”

“Kathy, I’ve explained I’m working all those hours to secure our financial future. You just don’t appreciate all I’m doing for this family.”

My face grew hot with fury. “Money isn’t helping me cope with these kids!” I snapped. “Darcy makes me so angry sometimes.”

“Kathy, that’s just typical motherhood blues. You’ll be fine. See you later.”

Larry walked away down the hall as I felt like screaming, “Why don’t you love me anymore?”

He walked through the laundry room into the garage, closing the laundry room door behind him. I was eating an apple and before I realized it, I hurled the half eaten apple toward the closing door. The apple shattered on impact and red and white apple pieces flew throughout the laundry room adhering to the ceiling and the walls. I whirled around and marched into my bedroom, dropping to kneel beside my bed. “Lord, make that plane crash! I don’t care if he ever comes home again.”

Larry’s plane didn’t crash, but I felt as if my life had crashed…crashed into a pit of uncontrollable anger and depression. My manipulation and nagging totally failed. During the following many months, the pieces of apple remained adhered to the walls and ceiling of my laundry room and then began rotting. I saw them as a memorial to the rotten marriage I believed God could not or would not change.

One day months later, I sensed God say to me in my heart, “Tell Larry you love him.” I was shocked to hear God’s prodding. I didn’t love Larry and I believed he hated me—so I wasn’t about to give Larry ammunition against me. After all, if he heard those three little words, “I love you,” that I hadn’t said or thought for over two years, he might think I was approving of his negligence. I flatly refused.

God persistently repeated the message and I adamantly refused again! Then I sensed the Holy Spirit giving a different message: “Then think it the next time you see Larry.”

OK. If he doesn’t hear me then he can’t use it against me. Then I’ll do it, even if it’s not true.0036_Miller

That evening, Larry returned from a flying trip and as he walked down the hall toward me, I stared at him, gulped, and thought, “I love you…” and then after a pause, I added, “but I don’t really.” Although I was obeying God, I still couldn’t believe it was true.

But the most amazing thing happened. By making that choice to love Larry and as I continued to make loving choices, more loving feelings took over. I also recognized I’d been holding Larry responsible for my happiness. Larry couldn’t meet all my needs—only God could. My perspective was corrected when I realized I couldn’t change Larry, I could only change myself as I surrendered to God.

Then I went into the laundry room and washed off those rotting apple pieces. I no longer needed a memorial to my rotten marriage. Symbolically, I washed the rotten attitudes off my heart and mind and began to trust God with my marriage and my life.

In time, Larry noticed that I wasn’t as angry and demanding of him and agreed to go on a couples retreat with me, which God used as a turning point in our marriage. That was in 1978 and soon we’ll celebrate over 45 years of marriage. We are best friends and tell each other several times a day how much we love each other. We are committed to choosing the best for each other. I’ll never forget those rotting apple pieces because now I enjoy a laundry room free from them, just like my heart is free from bitterness and anger.

 

 

 

Kathy’s latest book is a women’s Bible study book for groups and individuals. It’s Choices of the Heart: Daughters of the King Bible study series, published by Elk Lake Publishing. Choices of the Heart has 10 lessons, each one contrasting two women of the Bible on different topics like God’s sovereignty, trusting God, and others.

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0083_MillerGreetings from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs.

What’s in a name? Ask the clerk at the Los Angeles Superior Court, where, for a fee and the cost of filing a legal advertisement, anyone over the age of 18 can have his name changed.

A newspaper article published years ago gave some examples of the name changes. Georgia Ricotta wanted her name changed. After all, who would want to be identified with a cheese? Her new name? Anna Novelli. “I picked my last name from a TV series,” the new Anna says. Read More →

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0099_MillerHello! It’s Kathy Collard Miller from the Southern Californian desert in the Palm Springs area.

From Matthew 15:21-28 and Mark 7:24-30, we learn about the Syrophoenician woman who truly represents a prayer warrior. Her request is dire for her and her daughter. What’s amazing is she is a Gentile. In this account, Jesus goes to the region of Tyre and Sidon, on the Mediterranean coast. This is the only time Scripture indicates Jesus left the land of Israel. Just as he had to go through Samaria to meet the needy woman at the well, so he needs to leave his country to meet this needy woman. How gracious of him!

In Mark’s gospel account, this woman is identified as a Greek, born in Syrian Phoencia. The cities of Sidon and Tyre are in that area, which is northwest of Galilee.
The apostle Matthew, when he writes his gospel, describes her as a Canaanite, which is true. But by using that word instead of something general like “Gentile,” he is emphasizing the significance of what Jesus does for her. She isn’t just a Gentile, but comes from a long history of her people, the Canaanites, being despised by Jews.

The Canaanites of Jesus’ day are descendants of the Canaanites in Joshua’s day—the same people God had commanded to be wiped out. But because of the disobedience of the Israelite invading army, some survived. Survivors, like this Gentile woman, are despised because they represent the Jewish race’s history of disobedience. Plus, Canaanites are considered “unclean.” There are many reasons this woman had no right or invitation to engage Rabbi Jesus. However, her desperation and her faith compelled her. We can only imagine how she originally heard about him.

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Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Greetings from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs.

Imagine that you’re an orphan in a children’s home, desperately wanting to be adopted. One miraculous day a family arrives, they point to you, and say, “We want that child.” You cry with gratitude as the papers are signed and notarized. You climb into the car with your new family. It’s finally happened. You belong!

When you arrive at your new home, you’re astonished at how large it is. They show you a bedroom and it’s beautiful. “A room to myself?” you ask. They confirm it’s true.

That night as you lay in bed surrounded by warmth, you can’t believe what’s happened. But suddenly, you feel a sense of horror creep into your soul. “I don’t deserve all this. I shouldn’t be here so comfortable. I’m just adopted. I’m not like the ‘real’ children.”

With a sense of sadness, you climb out of bed, walk out of the house into the backyard. Wandering around, you find the doghouse and crawl in to lie beside the family dog. Shivering from the cold, you finally fall asleep, tears dropping onto the dirt floor. Read More →

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